If you could be a character in your books for a day, who would you be and why?
I would love to be Amy in The Clearing, so I could go back in time to 1944. It's a magical experience for her - one that takes her away from her very modern problems - and introduces her to a whole different way of life. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that her true love, Henry Briggs, is there in the past.
Can you name one moment that stands out as a favorite since you've become a writer?
After a particularly hard day at my day job I was nearly in tears. And then, when I got home, waiting for me was an email from a reader thanking me for writing stories that led her away from her troubled world of middle school. My day's problems vanished from my mind and I suddenly re-focused on what I was here to do with my life - write stories that encourage people, that take them away from their hard lives. That was a very special day. And, of course, I let the reader know how much her letter meant and that books had saved my life, too.
What is your favorite place to write? Is there anything you need in order to write? (i.e. coffee, chocolate, music, etc.)
I can write anywhere. When I'm drafting, I often go to a coffee shop to get things done with a set time limit for myself. When I'm revising, I prefer to be at home, where it's easier to take short breaks to clear my mind. I don't need anything but a good laptop or a notebook, but coffee does help.
Tell us about your latest or upcoming release.
My next book is WHEREVER YOU GO, coming out from Harcourt Children's in November 2011. It's the story of Holly, who has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. And it doesn't help that Holly has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather. When her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob, Holly wonders if the messages he has for her are real. And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side? It's a book about letting go and moving on into the light. I wrote this book after losing my grandmother to the complications of Alzheimer's, so it means a lot to me to bring the story to other families who are struggling with the disease and to teens who are care-giving for ill family members.